INTERVIEW-Bulgaria may request an exemption from EU sanctions against Russian gas and oil

Bulgaria supports sanctions against Russia to halt its invasion of Ukraine but is likely to seek an exemption from the ban on Russian natural gas and oil imports if such a proposal is tabled, Prime Minister Kiril Petkov said on Monday.

EU and NATO member Bulgaria is almost entirely dependent on gas supplies from Russia’s Gazprom, while its sole oil refinery, owned by Russia’s LUKOIL, supplies over 60% of the fuel consumed in the country. The United States is ready to move ahead with a ban on Russian oil imports to the United States without the involvement of allies in Europe, two people familiar with the matter told Reuters.

Germany, the biggest buyer of Russian crude, has rejected plans to ban energy imports, a stance Petkov supported. “Bulgaria would support all possible measures, because we are really against the war, but these two (oil and gas), maybe we would apply for an exception… We currently have no alternatives, we are too dependent,” Petkov said.

“We fully support the Ukrainian people, we supported the first package of sanctions, we are even open to other sanctions, only these two sanctions would be very difficult for us as an economy and as a country to bear,” he said. His center-coalition government will also start buying 1.5 million tons of wheat to secure food supplies until next year’s harvest and avoid risks that could arise from possible accidents at nuclear power plants in Ukraine.

The Black Sea country, which produced over 7 million tons of wheat last year, has no plans to ban wheat exports, Petkov said, adding that the state will also be stocking up on its reserves of corn and sunflower seeds. Petkov said Bulgaria, which has pegged its lev currency to the euro, is sticking to its goal of joining the euro zone in January 2024 for the time being. He said inflation will be pretty much in line with eurozone countries.

“Bulgaria has a currency board, so in a way we are already as if we were in the eurozone, nothing changes for us. We don’t have a separate monetary policy… Our inflation will be pretty much on par with European inflation,” he said. “So far we’re sticking with the current target date of 2024 and hoping to meet it,” he said.

(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

About admin

Check Also

Probable XIs, match prediction, pitch report, weather forecast and live streaming details

Gibraltar will face Bulgaria in the play-off for fifth place in the 2022 Valletta Cup. …